Rayan Lawrence Dishes on His Role of "K-9" in Season 2 Of Starz Hit Show BMF

If one keeps his ears open to the entertainment streets, he is aware of the popularity Starz Hit Show BMF has reached since its debut in September 2021. For those who aren’t, BMF is a Starz crime drama inspired by the true story of two brothers who form a criminal empire in southwest Detroit during the 1980s. Each week, viewers see the lengths “Big Meech” and “Southwest T” go to in order to make their street dreams come true. In the second season, fans of BMF witness these two connect with a major player in Detroit: a notorious drug dealer from Brewster Projects. 

Enter Rayan Lawrence, the man behind the merciless character viewers have come to know and fear, K-9.

starz bmf k9


Rayan Lawrence is a diverse actor who has been seen in a collection of hit TV series, including CBS’ "Magnum PI," "FBI," "Blue Bloods," and in a recurring role on WGN’s critically acclaimed series, "Underground." Rayan has a long list of impressive achievements, and he has added to his television appearances with roles in films including Barbershop: The Next Cut and the well-known Tupac drama ALL EYEZ ON ME, to name a few.

With undeniable talent, versatility, and a calm confidence that shines through the screen with each role he embodies, Rayan Lawrence is truly a rising star in Hollywood. It shows each time we see K-9 appear in scenes of Starz BMF. Week after week, K-9 leaves viewers shook, hoping one character or another won't give him a reason to "shake the room."


In the second season of Starz's breakout series BMF, Rayan reprises his fan favorite role of K-9. K-9 is a vicious, high-level drug dealer from Detroit's notorious, hard-nosed Brewster Projects. K-9 has no fear of man and makes the streets his domain, demanding devotion and respect while destroying any who refuse it. In the series, K-9 is pivotal to the storyline this season as the Flenory Brothers expand "the business" as well as delve deeper into their family dynamic.

BMF actor Rayan Lawrence discusses his role as K-9 in season two, how he prepared to embody K-9 during filming, the season finale, and other major things in the works for him in the following  interview. 


So let's talk "K-9" in BMF Season 2. He's had some explosive moments. How do you prepare yourself to channel your most authentic "K-9?"  I really listened to a lot of DMX. You know how some people say music influences you? It does! Everything that DMX was rapping about, K-9 was living that life back in the 80s. So that was one of the things that helped me prepare for the role of K-9. So, that was mainly it. But, from doing my research and just being in the moment and using my method acting-- once I feel disrespected, then BOOM. Bring that to K-9 and it goes to another level! 

He may not be the most loved character on BMF, but I can promise you he is definitely a character that demands his respect (or that is well-respected).

What DMX songs were you listening to? Any in particular?  I got my jack right here. You know what I'm saying. It was different ones. And different ones would get me in the mood. So the one where Meech actually steals K-9's connect? "Here We Go Again" was the one for that. You know, "I wanted to put the mac on him, but I had to turn my back to him." You know what I mean? That was one of my main ones. "Slippin" (I'm fallin, I can't get up) was one of 'em. "Damien" was one I was listening to a lot. "Where The Hood At?" Because, he's from the hood. I kept rewinding that one. "How It's Going Down" was one. "One More Road To Cross." Those are the ones I would hit on repeat. So those, I would just play back and forth every day. I would just rotate them. And it would help me prepare for the character. 

You've been in the industry for a while. You've been in Underground. The Original Power. All Eyez On Me. Pimp. Magnum P.I. How is playing "K-9" different from other roles you've played so far? K-9 is probably the most ruthless character I've played so far. Jamal, from Pimp, was just a low-level drug dealer. And then you go to a trained criminal with the character I've played in Magnum PI. I You have this guy who wears the jewelry, and you know, doesn't like being disrespected, and loves basketball [K-9]. I think I was able to, because of the K-9 character, I think the similarities that we had helped a lot...The similarities we had is about being disrespected. I don't like being disrespected, so I know how K-9 feels. But K-9 takes it to a whole 'nother level! I love to wear a lot of jewelry, I like to dress nice. He's the same way. And our love for basketball. So I think I was able to connect with him more than those other characters. Those were the different dynamics with those three [in particular.] The low level drug dealer with Jamal [from Pimp], the trained criminal [in Magnum PI], to this druglord [with K-9].I felt like I was more connected to K-9.

What have been your biggest challenges filming this season? Consistency. I think because I love to listen to reggae. I would listen to reggae everyday. But I had to cut it off and listen to rap. So that was  one of the biggest things. That was hard, because you know sometimes you go in real deep with these characters. You do want to debrief here and there sometimes because you don't want to dive in too much. Some of my boys saw that [with me]. And they were like, "hey, you gotta go back to your routine. You gotta listen to reggae. You gotta go back to the reggae club, you know what I mean? So at times, I kinda debriefed a little bit and was able to do those things. But the consistency, I wanted to make sure that I play this character to a "T" to the end. I had this Mamba Mentality, like once it's done, that's when I'll be able to debrief. But it [filming] was like 5 months, and you're getting this love from everybody. You're getting love from the cast, the crew, the directors, you're getting it from Starz, everybody is loving what you're doing. And you wanna keep it consistent. You don't want to come in and let them down one day. So that was the hard part-- to make sure you came in every day and you were on it 100% I felt that I was able to capture that the entire time I was on the show. 

How were you able to maintain your consistency? Any particular self-care practices? I know you said you had to go back to listening to your reggae a bit? Anything else in particular?  I think, walking the street as K-9, in the mentality all day, every day, I was K-9 at all times. I was doing that a lot. And you know what? Prayers. My sister prayed for me every day I was on set. My friend text me prayers. I listened to sermons every morning. So that kept my confidence going for the character. I know what you saw on TV, and talking about God don't coincide, but I'm just trying to say it kept me confident and able to continue to do what I was doing. That's what was keeping me consistent throughout the season. Because five months is a long time

Towards the end I'm like, "I wanna go and do something else." Because a lot of times, what people don't understand is that when you're playing some of these roles, you do want to debrief before you start filming another role. I know I had to film a movie shortly after, and it was okay to film it. But then right after, my team wanted me to audition for something else. I was like, "nah. I gotta take some time right now." So, sometimes it's a little hard to keep it consistent because you still want to live your "regular" life. If you really get too deep into these characters, it could cause long term damage. Look at what happened with Heath Ledger and how he dove so deep into his character. You never know how these characters affect you for the foreseeable future.

Right, because that's your mental. You're embodying this character. It's like you're taking on "them," and you're wearing them, basically. Yeah, I was told (though I don't think I need it!) as an actor, I should go to therapy. But I don't know. I don't think I need that stuff. 

I don't think it's a bad idea. I mean, I don't know you personally, but I can understand why someone would say that. It's a lot. Yes, diving into different mental spaces with all of these different characters, you know?

I know you said you've gotten a lot of love from the cast, from Starz, from the directors, and from fans alike. What has been the most rewarding thing about taking on the role of "K-9" so far? I think the most rewarding thing has been getting love from his family. His brother [KK] called me the other day, and he showed me some love. We spoke for like 30 minutes and he was like, "man, you know watching you, I had to do a double-take!" Because he was in the streets with his brother. So, to get that from him, especially, it was the most rewarding. And his sons-- I had dinner in Detroit with one of his sons. I met K-9's girlfriend, K-9's wife, and his other son DMs me, I talked to his daughter. So, all of them have definitely love what I've done playing their family member. So that was the top-of-the-line, most rewarding thing.

That's so cool. I know that has to be so gratifying hearing from them! 

Yes, exactly! Because you never know. My main thing was like, if I can get it right with them, then that's the best. Of course, you want to get it right with everyone. But for the family, of course, because you're playing a real life character. 

I think another rewarding feeling was coming back to New York. Because I'm from Brooklyn. And whenever we see someone from TV, we're like, "OK." We see somebody from TV all the time. But when I went to New York, everywhere I go, everyone is showing love. Especially the fact that 
I'm from Brooklyn, too. I was like, "Wow, New York. This is what happens when I come out here? OK! That's definitely another rewarding feeling.

Now are there any things, being that you're from Brooklyn, like playing someone and being in this Detroit scene, are there any things you had to change about yourself? I could definitely not be too "New York" in my dialect. Not being like, "Son, what up, son?" You know? That I had to change. I had to have a neutral accent, versus really trying to get the Detroit accent. You'll hear a couple of Detroit things that I say, like "what up though?" or "ma," you know? Like when I said "ma," when [K-9] shoots him mom in the head.

Yeah, because I was like, is that his real mom? Or is he just saying, ma?

[Rayan laughs] Yes, things like that. So now you're dressing so elegant back in the 80s, the fur coats, it's just a different type of wardrobe that you have to embrace. And walk a little different. So, I think that was one of the things I was able to put into perspective to keep the Brooklyn side of me out of this character. 

Now that we're on the heels of the season finale. Right now K-9 is locked up. Without giving too much away, what can viewers expect to see with K-9 going forward? [Rayan laughs] So you see K-9 in the interrogation room. You can expect to see him get interrogated. That's what I can give you guys. Expect to see him get interrogated. But it's gonna be an explosive season finale. Because the director brought the heat to it, so it's gonna be fun. You get to see me and Steve [Harris] on screen together for the first time, so that's gonna be fun. 

Now I'm looking forward to that [K-9 versus Detective Bryant moment] so much! And, I know you can't give me more than that! I've been seeing these reposts and all that! I even put on my IG, I was like, what y'all think is about to happen in this episode right here? I wanna see how many of these real ones is out here!

Right! Because I'm shook when I see K-9 on the screen. You're so smiling and you're so happy, but I am terrified of K-9! Still, he's one of the most intriguing characters I've ever seen on TV.  Thank you.

Outside of BMF, where can fans see you in the near future? Any exciting plans you can tell us about? Yeah, I got a new movie coming out called "First Comes Love, Then Comes Murder" that will be on TVONE. It will be out in a few months. It's a thriller and will be fun to watch I know a lot of people love thrillers and this movie has a lot of twists and turns. I do have another movie that I will be filming soon. I can't really name the cast yet, but I will say this-- I'm going to be reuniting with another person from the Power Universe. That should get y'all excited, as we'll both be leading in this project. It's been a pretty amazing time filming. 

I've been enjoying this journey and I can't wait to see more from you. One more thing I did want to ask you that I'm curious about, though. I read that you've modeled. How did you make the transition from modeling to acting? It was a seamless transition because I was doing both at the same time. And actually, my first ever audition was an ESPN commercial. I got it, so that was the first thing I had ever done--modeling or acting. So I was like, this acting thing is about to be easy! But then you go, and you're there for like 2 or 3 hours. It's just not as fun as researching the characters and learning the lines, things like that. Being able to rehearse with other people. But yeah, it was seamless. So, it wasn't like I was this supermodel and I'm just going into acting. I was doing both at the same time, trying out both, and I felt acting was more intriguing, more rewarding to me. So, that's the reason why I continued going the route of acting. Now modeling, I'll do here and there if I have to. I ain't turning no jobs down! But, I would prefer acting, of course.

I appreciate you talking to me and telling me more about BMF and everything you have going on. I thank you so much for sharing your time with me! Thank you so much. I appreciate you.

I thank Rayan Lawrence kindly for sharing his time and insight on K-9 with me and my readers in this interview. To keep posted on all things Rayan, be sure to check him out on Twitter (@RayanLawrence) and Instagram (@RayanLawrence.) And be on the lookout for those upcoming projects he mentioned!

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